Written by Dalibor Nedelka - http://trailacademy.blogspot.sk
Wikipedia explains Suunto as a company that manufactures and markets sports watches, dive computers, compasses and precision instruments. Headquartered in Vantaa, Finland, Suunto employs more than 400 people worldwide, and its products are sold in over 100 countries. Although globally active, the factory is placed next to the HQ, where most of the work stages are still handcraft. The word "suunto" is an old deviation of Finnish word "suunta", which is translated as "bearing", "heading" or "direction". (Wikipedia)
The above paragraph describes also the reasons why I bought my Ambit3 Peak HR. I wanted a gadget that can provide me with the precision and reliability combined with features like GPS, Baro and HR functions. All of them are embodied in this single watch. The version I bought is technically the top that Ambit3 can offer (not counting Sapphire version which is different just by it's look). Let's have a closer look at it.
Heart Rate (HR)
As I am an athlete I surely want a device with HR monitoring including all standard functions like real time measurement and displaying in beats per minutes, in % of max. HR or as an average HR. On top of this, this device provides you also with the information about predicted VO2 max, recovery time or calories consumption. You can view your HR data in any kind of activity you choose, even when swimming. With Ambit3 version, Suunto brings upgraded HR Suunto Smart Sensor. It is, according to the manufacturer, the smallest Bluetooth sensor on the market compatible with the watch itself, Movescount App on your phone and Movesense apparel.
Are you heading to the mountains and want to know current altitude or the weather trend? Bring your Ambit3 with you and read the barometric advice. Common information from this category are, of course, the current altitude, vertical speed, total ascent/descent, air pressure as well as couple of other handy features. What I find very useful is having sunrise/sunset times and storm alarm which beeps once there is a significant change in air pressure that might warn me before the coming storm.
Since this is a top version we have GPS functions as well. No need to go here into much detail as this function is well-known. However, we have here couple of functions that catch our attention. We all know the main purpose of GPS is providing us with the information about the position and altitude. Moreover, Ambit3 can give us also visual route navigation, saving of the POIs (points of interest), route tracking and planning. Suunto developed the FusedAlti function which combines GPS and baro function in order to ensure the most precise altitude calculation. Keep in mind the advantage of this can be in place only when having the version with baro and GPS.
This model comes with rechargeable battery where we do not need the spare ones. The official documentation says the battery life is doubled comparing to the previous Ambit2 version. What does it mean in reality? Unfortunately, I was not the user of Ambit2 so this I cannot compare this. I am daily user of Ambit3, though. While doing my sport (usually it is running) I have both GPS and baro in place. I'd say approx. 60% of my trainings are in the evening so I use the backlight quite a lot. Assuming the weekly time spent on the training mode (which is about 8 – 12h) I need to charge the battery every 1 – 1,5 week.
In my opinion, the web-based interface called Movescount is one of the best training diaries and analyzers you can find on the market. It gives you thorough overview of all your activities and shows the GPS result on the precise map. You can compare each activity with any other you have tracked before and combine e.g. HR curve and altitude curve on the graph. Moreover, it can also be used as a planner for your next route or a training program for future periods. Using this site, you can change any possible setting on your device. By getting to Community part you can connect with other Suunto users, share your moves or join various groups. Movescount combines the features of a strong workout diary with the social factors of the current days. Besides, it looks really good.
I have been using this device since January 2015 and have only positive remarks. The above paragraphs are compiled purely on my observations and experience during this time. By this review I wanted to point out mainly the features I use the most or which impressed me the most. If my current device would stopped working or I would get rid of it somehow, I would definitely bought new, the same one. The combination of all its functions and possibilities gives me everything I expect from a sport watch and HR device. I have discovered one negative feature during this usage period – I am used to do the recovery test during which I lay down and then quickly stand up. While standing I monitor the movement of my HR which needs to be quite precise. Ambit3 somehow fails to give me this close HR monitoring during this test. However, I have not observed such failure during the workouts. I am Android user and since the mobile app for Android has not been launched (until writing of this article) I cannot incorporate it to this review.